"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Monday, December 23, 2013

This Christmas...

Blessed: blissfully happy or contented.

December 22, 2013
...around 2:30pm

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Choice: the right, power, or opportunity to choose; option: The child had no choice about going to school.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is 
unhappy in its own way.” 
-Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Last week I posted the question that was shared with me from a good friend. She happened to be single lady who wondered aloud why so many couples seem to choose their children as a priority over their marriage? She also ask the question; “should couples stay married for the sake of the kids or divorce and try to find happiness?"

The question was posed with no personal advice needed, just the desire to share a reflection and observation.

When she ask me to comment on the sensitive topic with my Truth Be Told Tuesday forum I was flattered and honored, but I was also concerned if I were the right person to post my opinions on Facebook. I recognized my multiple marriages and even more children might make me some kind of authority on the topic, but I can assure you it does not. In the end, my main goal, as always, is to instigate conversation not a religious like conversion to my beliefs and opinions. I don’t have all the answers, and I’m quite sure I don’t know all the correct questions to ask either.

It's about conversation, not conversion.

After I requested the aid of the readers in sharing their thoughts, opinions and comments poured in, running the gamut of motherly advice to contemplating the economics of such a decision.

My favorite, if not one of the best responses, borrowed from the airline industry, are the words stewardess share countless times a day with their passengers: “If you are traveling with small children, or are seated next to someone who needs assistance, place the mask on yourself first, then offer assistance...."


 “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” 
-George Burns

It goes without saying our beliefs on any topic are shaped by how we were raised, our vast amount of past experiences, and by our philosophical and/or religious beliefs. In the end, much could be written in relation to this subject, but brevity is rewarded in forums such as this.

In response to this personal request I believe simply sharing a few Bible verses to support my belief and shouting, “ God, Wife, and Children” to be an unattractive approach in speaking to this dilemma. The Bible carries tremendous weight with me and many other Christians, but not everyone subscribes to the belief that God’s word is a referendum on how one should live his or her life.

I respect that.

What I would like to do is provide one example, share from personal experience, and pass on one piece of scripture from the Bible that provides more than a glimpse into how relationships are to be lived out here on earth, whether married or not.

Allow me to share.

Last Thursday, while I was riding my driveway of snow, I began to listen to a Ravi Zachariah podcast entitled The Christian Privilege. As it were, on this evening, when the sky was a canvas painted black, with only little white dots representing the stars and moon, I listened to the podcast for the hundredth time.

It was a message that detailed the horrific account of a family torn apart by the decision of a husband/father who decided to abandon his family to be with another women. This decision was done only after he did the unthinkable to his wife.

It was on this night that the powerful message spoke to me in away it never had before.

The story finds it starting point with Ravi being in Auckland, New Zealand, and after finishing his talk a young woman, with eyes full of tears, approached him and shared her haunting account with him. She was an Indian girl that was in her twenties. She told Dr. Zachariah that it’s often too difficult to share her story because of becoming overcome with emotion, finding it almost impossible to talk. But this day would be the day she would give a detailed history of her horrific experience because she was seeking help, and believed Dr. Zachariah to be the one who would fully understand her pain and dilemma.

The young girl went on to unravel the story that centered upon her mother’s almost heaven like beauty and her father’s inflamed jealousy that left him almost paralyzed, and rendered him helpless more times than not. She went on to explain that her mother had married a man that was extremely jealous of her and couldn’t accept the fact that other men to great notice of her mother’s beauty. He was crazy with paranoid thoughts, continually accusing her of countless acts of unfaithfulness and cheating.

And though her mother would often say, ‘I love you and I’m married to you,’ it was never enough to ease the demons that resided within her father.

So as awful fate would have it, her father came home from work one day with his briefcase in hand, and he asked his wife to come in the bedroom to talk with him in private. Unbeknownst to her mother, her father opened his briefcase and removed a bottle full of acid and threw it on her face. She screamed and screamed as she endured the pain of her skin peeling off her face like rubber on a tire when it skids on the hot summer pavement.

Her face was completely burned and would be horribly scared for life.

This once beautiful face, one that was looked at with awe and praise, is now looked at with faces that cringe and eyes that squint. The young lady went on to say that after the horrid incident her father took off and left her mother with the momentous task of raising seven children alone.

She didn’t talk or see her father for years, but one day her mother received a phone call, it was her dad. Her father explained to her mother where he was now living, and that he was dying of cancer. He told her he had no one in his life to care for him, and ask if she would take him back?

She said yes. 

Families can recover and make it. It takes work, but it can be done.

And as the young girl cried uncontrollably, she told Ravi that she was angry with her mother and couldn’t seem to relinquish the grip of anger that she so desperately wanted to hold on to. She held on to Ravi like the father she never had, one she desperately always wanted, and simply asked him to pray for her. And as Ravi held her like a young child in his arms, as she heaved and struggled to gain any composure, he said these wonderfully wise words to her:

“Salmbia, let your mother do what God is telling her to do. It may be a love that the world will never understand, but it is a love that would normally supernaturally engendered, if that mother of yours is as Godly as you says she is let her be the Godly women that God wants her to be. Don’t stand in her way.”

To have the type of response the young girl‘s mother displayed takes a standard of belief that is greater than any parental upbringing or guidance. It would take more than believing in the words of a Greek poet or Roman philosopher. No quote, earthly friendship or government law could galvanize one into making such a selfless decision. That brave choice is made only when one has a standard that is all knowing, powerfully perfect, and has the ability to transform the mind, heart and soul.

That standard is Jesus Christ. Abiding by this type of standard can only be accomplished by the “renewing in the spirit of the mind.” – (Eph. 4:23). 

 Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!  
~Albert Einstein

On that cold night, where the awesome beauty of nature provided a type of peace and serenity that is only reserved for those who are open to receiving it, I realized the power of transformation. No different than the majesty that is recognizable when the summer turns to fall, or when winter becomes spring, I intimately acknowledged “spiritual metamorphosis” to be an extraordinary thing to observe.

Whether the revolutionary renewal of the heart takes place within us or the reconstruction of the spirit takes shape in another person’s life, transformation, true transformation, is a beautiful thing to observe and experience.

When a women that has her face burned by acid is willing to lend a helping hand to the culprit of her pain speaks volumes of a heart that has been transformed by the love of Jesus Christ. Her behavior/decision is not a natural one, but a supernatural one that can only be gained by accepting the power of God’s love in your life, and even then a decision like hers is no guarantee.

Rev. Billy Graham's daughter, Ruth Graham, has been divorced twice. Like I said, there are no guarantees.

To achieve a life that merits masterpiece status one has to have a standard that is higher than a desire, want, or motivation. Time after time those short-lived inclinations and motivations are destined to become no more than ashes from the burning fire of realism, temptation, and the uncomfortable heat of hate, revenge and bitterness. The transformation that God provides has the ability to change unforgiveness to forgiveness, hatred to love.

It’s unexplainable, but it is true. It’s real.

Should we stay or should we go?

I can’t tell an individual what or not what to do when it comes to their marriage, but what I do know is that “leaving” is often not the problem, but merely the consequence for giving up long before. What I do know from personal experience is that the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, but the fact still remains you have to cut it. The fact that the divorce rate for remarried people with children is over 70% supports the “grass isn’t always greener” theory.

Without children the divorce rate is over 60%.

“In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds 
for divorce. The trick 
is to find and continue to find grounds for marriage.”
Robert Anderson

Christian and non-Christian alike suffer the same fate of divorce when they consciously begin to distance themselves emotionally, spiritually and physically from their spouse. Do you want to limit the potential of ending a marriage? If the answer is yes, then take every precaution when you first notice the other person is letting go of you, or vise verse, by prioritizing other things over you.

That includes children.

No one should stay married for the sake of the kids, no more than you should love your spouse because it would please your in-laws. When a parent seemingly chooses to be more involved in his or her child’s life than their spouse’s life is not because the love is greater for the child. Many times it has more to do with one, or both spouses, avoiding the hard work and heavy lifting that is involved in loving another person deeply when one is hurting and they're participants in an unfulfilled relationship.

It has more to with avoidance than it does with priority.

Putting our kids first will at times let the parent off the hook emotionally because of the positive emotions we’re awarded with for our good intentions. No one can fault anyone for loving this or her child right?

Remember, Our children only get one childhood. Only one.

In the end, staying for the kids or leaving and breaking up the family are poorly limited options. It doesn't have to read like a scoreboard with only a home and visiting team. The option of seeking help and counsel that could aid in saving a marriage must be an option – obviously there are massive limitations in the success of a marriage if one partner chooses to leave.

Personally, I failed at creating more options that could’ve saved my first marriage, setting me up for nothing short of failure in my second marriage, a marriage that was created 6 months after my 1st divorce. That marriage was doomed before it even got off the ground. Many times leaving one relationship in search of another often entails carry with us unresolved issues like carry-on luggage on airplane. I was the passenger that was trying to shove everything in the overhead compartment of life, trying desperately to close the door with no success. I was exhausted, emotionally/financially broken, and spiritually lost. All I did was take those issues from one airport gate to another when I left my first wife and married my second.

Finally, God’s word in Luke tells us to love our enemy. Sadly, there are times that our spouse can become the enemy. It also tells us to refrain from judging. Unfortunately, many times judging a spouse occurs more often than loving a spouse.

Luke 6:27-42 says these things.

Love for Enemies...

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others, as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others...

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” 39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

I don’t have all the answers when it comes to marriage but I do believe we can find guidance in those scriptures when it comes to our relationships and marriages.

I really should read that piece of scripture every day.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
-Matthew 22:37-39 
It goes without saying, my opinion finds it source and inspiration in the gospel, but in no way is my opinion the gospel. My belief is fueled by reflection, an introspective perspective, and personal experiences that have a firm foundation built upon the concrete slabs of failure, not the limestone of success.

With that, I believe the airline industry gets it right. We need to help ourselves before we can help someone else. That includes our family.

We have to love our self with a healthy dose of humility and courage- seeing our self as God see’s us- and begin to put the oxygen mask that is God’s love and salvation over our nose and mouth, and take all of His glory in. It is when we begin to inhale God’s spirit we are able to give more freely, forgive more often, and love more openly.

And aren’t those the qualities that every marriage - and family - needs to survive? 

sbb  19.12.13



Sunday, December 15, 2013

You're Not Alone (HEAL - Pt. 2)

I wrote this piece on December 22, 2012 - sbb

Healthy: possessing or enjoying good health or a sound and vigorous mentality: a healthy body; a healthy mind. Pertaining to or characteristic of good health, or a sound and vigorous mind: a healthy appearance; healthy attitudes.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:7 

As a country, and a world for that matter, we've become all too familiar with tragedy, trial and tribulation over the past year. Whether it's Benghazi, Hurricane Sandy, or Sandy Hook many people are hurting and are in need of help; healing. And as we find our self smack dab in the middle of another Holiday Season many of us are reminded of the unwanted pain we carry around with us. The pain might be center around unresolved family issues, financial pressure, or lost friendships. Others find themselves in the midst of a divorce, the first Christmas since the death of a loved one, and for some, dealing with a strong sense that their dreams are quickly slipping away as evidence of another year coming to an end without little change from past history seems to be a bit overwhelming. 

"I thought I would be somewhere else in life instead of here.",  many say.

Holidays, especially Christmas, can be a traumatic event for many; with the main goal surviving them instead of thriving within them. Many souls are lost, spirits crushed and hearts completely broken.

I know... Merry Christmas to you too. 

I think it's safe to say I could continue with example after example of how people find themselves in complete despair this time of year but I think my point has been sufficiently made; people are in pain, and are in desperate need of healing.

Heal your life

Most people are good at identifying their hurts, acknowledging their pain, and even better at blaming someone or something for their inability to be happy and experience pure joy. As we grow older we soon realize that happiness, and sadness, is often determined by circumstance, and that joy is rooted in deep rooted contentment. Happiness speaks to what I have; joy speaks to who I am. In the end, both are attainable, both are choices and both are unachievable if hurt lives deep within us with no intention on a part of getting rid of it, getting better; healing.

It's said that when a person opens their heart they begin to get better. Opening one's heart will immediately introduces them to vulnerability, honesty and more pain, but if we are to begin the process of healing we have to begin the process being vulnerable, being honest and open to reliving the pain that is associated with that which ails us.

Allow me to share. 

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."
-Isaiah 40:8
When a person is to begin the process of healing they're never able to do it alone. For those that have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ know that in times of despair and devastation; in the season of hurt and harm we can go to Him, the One that sits upon the throne and ask Him to hold us in His wonderful embrace. What a beautiful thought. Psalm 61:1-4 states this:

"Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever
    and take refuge in the shelter of your wings."

and Psalm 62: 5-7 shares these marvelous words with the reader: 

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him. 
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge."

We soon realize that the believer will always find their healing through the power and love; grace and mercy, of God. But if we are at all to be honest with ourselves we also realize that God use's people here on earth to be part and parcel of the healing process for those who are hurting. Recognition is the key word for both the hurting and the helper; those that are full of pain can't heal alone, and they must recognize that truth. Those on the sideline of another person's pain can't decide watch and wave either. They too must recognize that another is in need of help; their help. 

Often times when we see someone waving to us from the shore that is their life they aren't saying hi, their actually drowning, and their trying to get our attention; they need our help.

Who is waving or drowning in your life? 

Paul Young, the author of The Shack, puts it this way: “I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.” 

It is through our relationships we are healed. Our relationship with others; our relationship with God. 

H stands for Hope; stands for Help

The key when you're hurting is not to lose hope, and the key for those close to the situation, and who have been invited into another person's pain, is to help them never to lose hope. Remember, not everyone that is waving to you is saying hi, some are drowning and desperately need your help. Having hope is important; it's vital to the healing process. One of the ways I remind myself of past hope being rewarded, prayers being answered, and healing from a painful situation is to use my Bible like a journal. In the margins of my Bible in chapters 61 & 62 in Psalms are a list of very specific prayers for change, and for God's favor and healing in different areas of my life. I have a date next to the request representing when I wrote it down and began to pray concerning the certain circumstance(s). Some of the entries have a second date, that date represents when my prayer was answered, but in all actuality that date represents far more than an answered prayer, it is a forever reminder to me that God is faithful, that He didn't abandon me in my time of need, and that He will show Himself again when hurt and healing are needed. My hope is increased when I see two dates next to an entry. It gives me faith and hope for another day. In the end, some entries have two dates; some have one, but both entries were entered with the faith and hope that God see's my need; that He sees my specific circumstance and He will answer my plea in a way that best fits into His will for my life. God always and only wants to offer His best to us, no matter how much we've screwed up or how much we've contributed to our circumstance and pain, no matter how bleak the our reality might be, God wants to give us His best. Jeremiah 29:11-14 supports that truth. Finally, I've come to the realization that it is as important to pray for God to reveal the lesson to me that he wants me to learn in a certain circumstance as it is to pray for a change in that circumstance. We must never forget; God has a plan for our pain. All we have to do is allow Him to share it with us. Don't lose hope. God sees where you need to heal and He will help you... all you need to is ask Him for help. Remember, you're not alone in your need to heal, and your not alone when you travel through the valley that is the healing process. Don't lose hope, help is on the scene; everything is going to be alright.

E stands for Engage; stands for Encourage 
For real healing to begin, and for it to take on deep roots, one must first become engaged in the healing process. You have to decide you want to heal from what ever ails you. Pain, like disappointment, in this life is inevitable, but much like discouragement, healing is a choice. You have to decide you want to heal. In the book of Samuel the reader is introduced to David, the greatest king Israel has ever seen. In the 30th chapter of 1 Samuel David was exhausted and defeated by battle. His troops blamed him for their misfortune and wanted to stone him to death, but scripture recorded David's behavior for our benefit in verse 6: 

"David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God." -1 Samuel 30:6

Different translations of that verse state that David "strengthened" himself. The Hebrew word for strengthen is encourage. We soon realize that David had options at his disposal on how he could handle his misfortune; his pain. David chose to encourage himself and in the process became healed by looking to God as his strength. He knew that God was bigger than his circumstance. David displayed unyielding faith and courage. Before we can become encouraged we have to be engaged, and we can't be healed unless we're encouraged. Often we must have the courage to encourage ourselves, and to encourage others. Again, for those who have been invited into anothers pain via a phone call, note or text we have to be willing to become engaged in the healing process. Patting someone in need on the shoulder and saying "I will pray for you" isn't nearly enough. Prayer is important, but we must be engaged at a higher level. Let me state in advance, engaged doesn't mean having all the answers or standing in judgement of the person in need either. What engaged really means is practicing the lost of art of listening, praying for God's direction for the one that is battered and for you as you aid in healing process, and to be unwavering in our attempt to encourage the person that is in need of healing. Be that person that can be depended upon to be engaged in their pain and to be of encouragement to them during their time of discouragement. You can't be their for everyone, but I do believe you will know deep within you when you are to be there for that certain someone. I really do.  

A stands for Act; stands for Attitude
If you sincerely want to heal you have to act now. And the first action that needs to take place is the changing of our attitude towards what is causing our suffering and pain. If someone needs to be forgiven, forgive them today. If you need to go to someone and ask forgiveness don't delay, go to them today. Like David, anyone that has healed from a particular circumstance has at some point decided that they wanted to be healed and thus changed their attitude concerning the situation. They wanted better. Our attitude will always determine our outcome; our altitude. You will only travel as high as your attitude will allow you. Attitude is everything. Many good people choose to wallow in their pain, unwilling to relinquish poor attitudes and senselessly choose to suffer for entirely too long. And when you choose to senselessly suffer everyone you come in contact suffers a little too. Most, if not always, when I write about attitude and the importance of it I write very little. At the end of the day, attitude is always a choice. It's your choice. It's my choice. People will always choose their attitude and there is very little I can say, or do, to change that reality. I will just end with this, choosing a good attitude is always better than choosing a poor one. It's good for your healing, good for you, and good for everyone you come across.

L stands for Life; stand for Love
Love your life enough that you want to heal. The best you; your best life, involves a high level of healing. I know there are circumstances that physical pain can't be extinguished. You might have terminal cancer, were badly injured in a car accident, or your body is being ravaged by deadly disease, in those cases pain is part and parcel of your sad ordeal. But what I'm talking about is the pain we carry around inside of us because we refuse to choose a better outcome. We can choose a better outcome. We really can. Sometimes we have to forgo our right to be right. We have to at times swallow our pride for the greater good. Sometimes we have to simply just move on. I agree that some pain is worse than others, and are very difficult to get over, but at some point we have to choose to live our best life; to be all we can be. Both of those realities takes action on our part, and both are apart of living our best life. Love your life enough to forgive, to seek professionally counseling if needed, and love your life enough to want to heal from what is causing you pain. You can do this. You really can.

Your healing is in God's hand; in your hands.

Yesterday, early in the morning, I received these words from a friend on Facebook:

 Hi Shawn, it has been a while since I've looked at your blog, but felt led to read it today. I was blessed and touched by what I read. I have not been in the best of spirits due to my recent condition and just felt like throwing in the towel.

When I read words like that I'm reminded of why I do what I do. Mybabyroc was started with the simple goal in mind to encourage others. Notes like the one above tell me that the site is going down the right path; right direction. In reading those words I'm also reminded that many people are hurting and are just trying to get through another day. The reasons why people are hurting can be insignificant and irrelevant at times. The names can be familiar or with little social recognition or significance. The people can be wealthy beyond comprehension or living in poverty. No matter the race, religion or gender, no matter if the person is young or old, living with failing health or is as healthy as a horse, the fact still remains that many people are hurting. And it's during this time of year the pain seems to be more intensified. Pain can make us feel like were drowning. It can suffocate us. At times the pain can be incomprehensible leaving us without any hope or notion that anything will get better anytime soon. Pain during the holidays can be cruel and debilitating leaving us empty of any hope; any joy, just an acknowledgement that we are beyond running on fumes; we're empty on the inside.

But wait...

God sees you and He wants to help. He sees how empty you are on the inside and sees where you are right now. He wants to help you. All you have to do is ask.

God is faithful to those who have accepted Him into their heart as their personal savior. God has your best interest in mind and it's deeply entrenched in His heart. All of your pain has a purpose. Simply ask God to reveal it to you. He also desires you to fully heal from whatever is killing you on the inside. That is part and parcel of living the best life that he has planned for you.

Healing is part of His perfect plan for you; for me.

Don't give much attention to yesterday, and worry less about tomorrow, and let today be the day you begin to heal.

Decide today you want to heal. 

Hopefully, you won't be alone in that decision.

sbb 22.12.12

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Merry Christmas Grievers (HEAL - pt. 1)

This piece was originally posted on 12.18.12 - sbb

Pain:  physical suffering or distress, as due to injury, illness, etc. a distressing sensation in a particular part of the body: a back pain. mental or emotional suffering or torment: I am sorry my news causes you such pain.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."
-Matthew 11:28-30  
Below is a letter that I received last year that was enlightening and admirable; heartfelt and appreciated. It inspired me to write a piece last year entitled; "What Are You Doing New Years Eve." I will re-post that piece on December 30th of this year. These same words, and an update sent a year later from the same person, has motivated me to put pen to pad and share my thoughts on healing. After Hurricane Sandy & the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy I think it is safe to say we all need to heal from something. The holidays often invite over some uncomfortable house guests. Bitterness, loneliness and grief are the names of just a few. Over the next few days I want to discuss healing and what healing looks like. I hope you join me in the discussion and look inwardly and evaluate where healing needs to take place in your life. Remember, you can't change, fix or heal what you don't acknowledge. But first lets revisit the painful words of a hurting soul I received one year ago this month. Letters like this are the very reason I write.

Merry Christmas Grievers 

I'm seriously putting myself out there for this note, being the "Debbie Downer" for the "Happ, Happiest Season of All", but I'd like to put a shout out for all of those who are struggling, wanting to close their eyes and run from all of this candy coated happiness. 

I'm not turning atheist or anything; I don't use the word "X-mas". 

I know this is the time of year that we, as born again believers in Jesus Christ, celebrate the season of our Savior's birth.  He has come to set the captives free, the light of the world that once lived (and still some do) in darkness will see the glorious light of our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:2, Isaiah 42:7)  That alone is great cause for rejoicing. When I think of God sending his son to die for what I've done so that I could live forever in glorious celebration of the creator, I want to do more than a happy dance.

However, (this is the downer part) in my realm of living, people seem to hide the feelings of depression when it comes to the holidays.  They are forced to put on their happy faces and pretend that everything is okay with their world.  The people around them don't want to mention the pain to spoil the season.

Isaiah 7:14 

Cooler temperatures, shorter days, leaves are falling.  Halloween comes and goes, then the Christmas decorations come out.  Before you know it, Thanksgiving.  Blink and the Christmas season is here.  The season brings on a wave of memories.  I have personally seen a Hallmark, Lifetime Christmas.  I've heard people talk about the memories and traditions their family experience.  Old time ornaments from years gone by are hung on the tree. 

That's such a wonderful blessing to have as a reality.

But (insert the Christmas carol screech to a halt), this isn't reality for a lot of people.  Christmas brings on hurt, loss, and painful memories.  The holidays trigger them multiplied.  I know, I'm one of them.  Struggling through the holidays every year for a very long time, I go on a search for what I can find of Christmas that will balance out the riot going on in my head.  The loss of dreams, hopes, desires, what you thought would transpire in this season isn't exactly what you dreamed of for you.  

How do you get through the season?

Let me inform you at this point, I am not a scrooge. 

Acts 5:31 

I like Christmas carols, I rejoice at hearing of how families spend the holidays and put up the lights together.  Just this year, as part of my "make a new memory" campaign, my daughter who was once totally estranged from me, came over and helped me wrap presents and ate Thanksgiving dinner at my house.  Don't take for granted the things that happen in your life every day.  Some have no family at all. 

How would you get through the season with no family at all?  (Insert prayer)

For me, this is how I'm trying to change my attitude.  First, it is what it is.  I've got family who love me the way they know how.  I love those around me the way I know how.  I'm not experiencing my totally longed for dreams-yet.  But I'm making new ones.  Putting the past behind me, most of it in boxes so I can pull it out as a testimony of what the Lord has brought me through. 

I'm putting up new memories starting this year. 

Matthew 1:21  

Looking for things in my world to fill the void, the loneliness that comes with grieving. Like the time I experienced peace on earth goodwill to men at the Goodwill store when an Iraqi and an Iranian met and smiled.  New memories, being intentional on finding them and not letting the past ruin yet another year.  

Learn from me, if you spend time looking behind you, you will totally miss what's right in front of your nose. 

Look in the present and forgive the past.  

Heal your lost memories, make new ones.  Grieve, heal, gain strength from God our Father and trust He will give you new memories.  I know it's easier said than done because I'm going through it myself.

What I'm asking is this: Think of the ones who are grieving in any area of their lives during this holiday season.  Not everyone has the perfect holiday.  I have spoken to people who are not having a good time right now and I feel so sorry for them.  They're trapped in their emotions for fear of wrecking the spirit of the season. 

John 3:16  

Please pray for them, that the things that cause them pain be replaced with love.  That healing comes and they can experience peace and strength.  

For those who grieve from a death this year, I am so sorry for your loss.  I'm so sorry for the pain you must be experiencing.  For those who grieve a loss of memories and dreams of what you thought your life was going to be, I'm so sorry.  It may be a long road, but healing is there for you through Christ.  He makes all things new, heals painful scars of hurt, rebuilds new dreams, and if it is His will restores old ones. 

Try to look for things God puts in your life today, He wants you to smile. 

He wants you to have a hope and a future, not a longing for something that's in the past you can't redo.  That's what I'm trying to do, find healing.  And I will find it.  My prayer is that other grievers find it too.  

Merry Christmas grievers, you're not alone. (12.15.11)

sbb 18.12.12